overlooked by many veterans are three benefits
that fall under the moniker of “Improved
Pension Benefits” that qualifying veterans
may seek. Speak with a qualified Veteran’s
Service Officer prior to applying these benefits.
While it may take several months to receive approval,
benefits are payable as of the date of application.
Even if you are currently receiving compensation
from the VA, you may still be eligible for Basic,
Aid and Attendance or Housebound benefits. Once
a veteran reaches the age of 65, the VA classifies
them permanently and totally disabled regardless
of their physical fitness (this is the Basic benefit).
To qualify for the Housebound benefit, the applicant
is not as limited in their need for assistance
as someone meeting the needs for Aid & Attendance,
but still requires help with daily living activities
and be essentially housebound.
The Aid and Attendance Pension (A&A) provides
benefits for veterans and surviving spouses who
require the regular attendance of another person
to assist them with at least some activities of
daily living. It also includes individuals who
are blind or a patient in a nursing home because
of mental or physical incapacity. Assisted care
in an assisting living facility also qualifies.
To qualify for A&A it needs to be established
by your physician that you require daily assistance
by others to perform some or all of the following:
dress, undress, bathe, cook, eat, toilet, take
on or off of prosthetics, leave home etc. There
simply needs to be adequate medical evidence that
you cannot function completely on your own. Any
War-Time Veteran with 90 days of active duty,
1 day beginning or ending during a period of War,
is eligible to apply for the benefit. A surviving
spouse (marriage must have ended due to death
of veteran) of a War-Time Veteran may also apply.
The individual applying must qualify both medically
To qualify medically,
a War-Time Veteran or surviving spouse must need
the assistance of another person to perform daily
tasks, such as eating, dressing, undressing, taking
care of the needs of nature, etc. Being blind
or in a nursing home for mental or physical incapacity,
or residing in an assisted living facility also
qualifies. To qualify financially, an applicant
must have on average less than $80,000 in assets,
EXCLUDING their home and vehicles. For 2010, the
A&A Pension can provide up to $1,632 per month
to a veteran, $1,055 per month to a surviving
spouse, or $1,949 per month to a couple.
Note, the application process is daunting, so
don’t hesitate to ask for assistance. There
are several marketing organizations who will help
you apply for a fee. Some fees are MUCH higher
than others, so shop carefully or check with your
financial advisor for assistance in applying.
More information is available at www.veteranaid.org.